April 21, 2021

AGU Endorses the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act

Posted by Caitlin Bergstrom

On 20 April, AGU sent a letter of endorsement to the leadership of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act. 

Dear Chairwoman Johnson and Ranking Member Lucas –


On behalf of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and our community of 130,000 worldwide in the Earth and space sciences, I am writing to thank you for crafting and offering AGU’s official endorsement for the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act.


AGU affirms the importance of fostering and supporting a safe and professional environment for both the individuals who work to advance the scientific enterprise and ultimately for the success of the enterprise itself.  A diversity of perspectives and ideas strengthens science- but that diversity requires a commitment to not only allow, but encourage, individuals to speak up.  Harassment compromises open communication, inhibits the flow of diverse views, and creates a hostile work climate. As such, harassment undermines the entire global scientific enterprise and has no place in a research environment or workplace of any kind.


The Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act would provide much needed resources for research that will help to fill gaps in our understanding of the impact and measures to address sexual harassment in the sciences. The bill will also provide the infrastructure for federal agencies to take meaningful steps to combat the problem and promote safe and inclusive working environments.


AGU, in recognition of the gravity of the issue, updated its ethics policy to define harassment as a form of scientific misconduct, with appropriate steps and consequences for anyone found to have engaged in this damaging behavior. 


Other organizations, including the National Science Foundation, have also taken steps to strengthen their policies regarding harassment, which is vital, given the need for collaborative efforts across organizations to combat this problem. Your bill sends an important message that the scientific community must in fact work collectively to promote a harassment-free and inclusive environment for science and scientists to thrive.


AGU commends your efforts and looks forward to working with you to address this serious issue.


Full text of the letter can be found here.